The management of native lands in New Zealand and Canada: a comparative study
McHugh, P. G.
Any attempt to write in an area as volatile as native law faces the danger of being overtaken by events. Indeed major developments occurred after the writing of this thesis had begun. I was fortunate enough to have contacts in New Zealand willing to send the details over to Canada. Similarly,what appears to be a significant decision concerning reserve land and the duties of the Minister in respect of surrenders was delivered by the Federal Court in Vancouver in June. Unfortunately efforts to obtain a copy of the decision proved unsuccessful. However, I have endeavoured to stay abreast of developments in the field of Maori and reserve land tenure and to make this study as up-to-date as possible. This study is primarily a legal one and despite the obvious relevance of other disciplines, I have·attempted to keep within a legal framework. Although mindful of Sutton's comment in his invaluable bibliography 𝐼𝑛𝑑𝑖𝑎𝑛 𝐿𝑎𝑛𝑑 𝑇𝑒𝑛𝑢𝑟𝑒 that the study of native land tenure is an inter-disciplinary pursuit, I felt it best not to forage into sciences with which I am unfamiliar. For instance, an interesting comparison could be made of the different acculturation processes in New Zealand and Canada. However that is a task more befitting an anthropologist so,accordingly, I have been content to point to the cultural adaptations of the Maori and Indian t.o the legislation affecting them and their land and have not ventured into an analysis of these changes as examples of cultural dynamism. My concern to keep a legal focus also kept me away from much of the abundant polemical literature that exists in the area of native rights. Such literature has been used as background in order to obtain a flavour of the feelings that lie behind the native movements in New Zealand and Canada. In any event, these polemical works are plentiful and keeping track of them would have been well-nigh impossible. I found a better grasp of native feeling was obtained through the publications of the natives' national organizations, the Canadian National Indian Brotherhood and New Zealand Maori Council. Whilst not always free of political bombast and sloganeering,these bodies tended to be less intuitive about the legislation than the popular statements of native feeling and endeavoured, usually with success,- to translate emotive response into reasoned argument. The comparative nature of this study should be constantly borne in mind. That fact has resulted in some areas being given only a brief discussion. Examples in chapter three are the brief analysis of the equation of an Indian 'band' with an·. unincorporated association and the factual· treatment of the laws affecting Indian status. Lengthy analysis of those two areas given above as examples would have produced detail superfluous to a comparative study. Finally, I feel obliged to express the frustration I encountered at the absence of published data concerning on-reserve activity and the current use of the provisions of the Indian Act. The frustration was eased to a certain extent by reliance on interviews with Departmental officials. That dependance necessarily lends an impressionistic element to certain parts of this study and is, of course, a poor substitute for statistics and published data. If this study were concerned solely with the management of Indian lands the reliance in places on interviews with knowledgable persons would be less acceptable. However,the information gathered from these sources has been more than adequate for present purposes. Palmer-Patterson II and Sutton, to name but two writers, talk of the development of aboriginal self-awareness which comes from the drawing of what the former calls 'colonial parallels'. The aim of this study is to make a contribution, however slight, towards that consciousness.